Our Positions at the June 14th, 2022 Historic Preservation Board

Our Positions at the June 14th, 2022 Historic Preservation Board

MDPL’s Advocacy Committee has reviewed the following applications and offers our positions below. Please note, the lack of a position on a project does not indicate support for or opposition to that project. To review the Historic Preservation Board Agenda, including public participation information:

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CONTINUED ITEMS

2. HPB21-0486; 411 Michigan Avenue, 419 Michigan Avenue & 944 5th Street

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of one existing building, the renovation, restoration and relocation of one existing building, the construction of a new office building, a variance to eliminate the open court requirement and one or more waivers.

more details->411 Michigan Ave

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

Staff would preface this analysis by noting that the subject site has remained vacant for some time, notwithstanding the two separately approved development projects noted in the Background section of this report. The site is comprised of three lots, the northern two of which are part of a previously proposed hotel development that was never completed. However, the foundation and basement levels for this project were built, and are currently located on these two lots.

The southern lot contains two Contributing buildings: i. a 2-story multi-family building located at the center of the lot; and ii. a 1-story rear accessory building located along the alley. The applicant is currently requesting approval for the construction of a new office building and parking garage, the total demolition of the rear 1-story accessory building and the relocation, elevation and restoration of the 2-story center building.

Update

On April 12, 2022, the Board reviewed and continued the subject application in order to give the applicant additional time to address concerns expressed by the Board. Since the April meeting, the applicant has submitted revised plans in response to the Board’s concerns including the following modifications:

The 1-story garage structure is proposed to be retained and relocated between the existing 2-story multi-family building and the 3-level parking lift enclosure. The relocated garage structure is proposed to be adaptively reused as an open-air dining area.

The new mechanical parking structure has been shifted 4’-0” to the east and reduced in width by three parking bays in order to accommodate the relocated garage.

The office building has been reduced by 2’-0” in the north-south direction and increased by 2’-0” in the east-west direction. As a result, the drive aisle width variance request has been withdrawn.

The depth of the south facing balconies has been reduced by approximately 1’-0”.

Off-street loading waiver The applicant is requesting a waiver of the off-street loading space requirements outlined in Section 130-101 of the City Code. The project is required to provide three off-street loading spaces. As currently proposed, the applicant is not providing any off-street loading spaces. The Historic Preservation Board may waive the requirements for off-street loading spaces for properties containing a Contributing structure, provided that a detailed plan delineating on-street loading is approved by the Parking Department. Staff would note that while technically the applicant is not providing any loading spaces on site, there may be opportunities when the internal driveway could be used for off-street loading. The applicant has preliminarily met with the Parking Department and will submit an on-street loading plan as required. Consequently, staff does not object to the granting of this waiver. Staff believes that the applicant has substantially addressed the concerns expressed by the Board. In summary, staff is staff remains supportive of the proposed project and recommends approval as noted below.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS The drive aisle width variance request has been withdrawn by the applicant. Additionally, the applicant is requesting the following variance:

A variance to reduce by 450 sq. ft. the minimum required open court area of 450 sq. ft. in order to eliminate the open court requirement. Variance requested from:

Sec. 142-699. – Setback requirements in the C-PS1, 2, 3, 4 districts.

(c) For lots greater than 100 feet in width the front setback shall be extended to include at least one open court with a minimum area of three square feet for every linear foot of lot frontage, except for those properties located in the C-PS1 district described in section 142-698(a).

For zoning purposes, the front of the lot is located along Michigan Avenue and the open court area is required to be provided within the front setback. The purpose of the open court requirement is to break up long uninterrupted building mass and reflecting the historical development pattern of this portion of the city. Staff would note that in this instance, the proposed office building would occupy approximately 70% of the width of the site and the remaining width is dedicated to the relocated 2-story Contributing building and the internal driveway. Staff believes that the location of the driveway and 2-story Contributing building along Michigan Avenue effectively serve the purpose of the open court requirement. As such, staff finds that the unique site conditions including the retention of the Contributing building justify the granting of the variance.

RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends that the application be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Practical Difficulty and Hardship criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position [updated for June 14th, 2022]:

MDPL appreciates that the applicant has found a way to preserve the contributing garage structure and incorporate it as an open-air outdoor seating area for the cafe. However, as the proposed office building massing has only seen minor changes (e.g., shifting the building 1-2 feet), our position remains unchanged as expressed at the April meeting, below:

MDPL Position [from 4-12 HPB]

We thank the applicant and their team for their presentation to the advocacy committee. We understand their objectives and design plan. This site has been an eyesore for many years due to the previously approved project never having been completed.

We are enthusiastic about the plan to elevate the historic building on the site and make it more prominent by moving it closer to the street. We thank the applicants for their commitment to historic preservation in this regard.

However, we are not able to support the overall project as currently proposed due to significant concerns related to certificate of appropriateness standards. Even, with a few extra feet setback from the adjacent neighbors, the overall compatibility, scale, remain.

Compatibility: we have concerns about the contextuality of the new construction and how it relates to historic buildings and surroundings, in particular to the low-scale south of fifth historic neighborhood and lack of distinct but compatible design methodology of the project. The building as currently proposed is out of scale to the historic district and would encroach on the neighboring properties – particularly to the south – in a way that we do not believe would be sensitive or compatible to its surroundings.

We understand that the owners would prefer to build on the foundation of the previously approved but unfinished project on the site. However, this element of their program greatly increases the overall scale of the structure, creating a large indoor atrium that pushes all sides of the building outward. As such, we oppose the design as currently proposed, including the setback variance.

3. HPB21-0492, 225 37th Street.

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the total demolition of the existing buildings on the site and the construction of a new synagogue and variances from the required lot size, lot width, setbacks, projections and yard elevation. 

more details->225 37th Street

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

The subject property is a substandard sized lot located mid-block on 37 th Street between Collins Avenue and Indian Creek Drive. The site is surrounded by a 7-story multi-family residential building to the west and south and two 3-story buildings to the east. The applicant is requesting approval for the design of a new 3-story building to be used as a synagogue. In order to construct the new building, the applicant is proposing the total demolition of the existing structures on the site.

Update
On April 12, 2022, the Board reviewed and continued the subject application in order to give the applicant additional time to address concerns expressed by the Board. Since the April meeting, the applicant has submitted revised plans in response to the Board’s concerns including the following modifications.

The synagogue design has been modified in response to historical documentation from the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser. The new design incorporates a stronger reference to the asymmetrical massing of the primary façade of the original home.

The overall height of the synagogue has been increased by 3’-0” in order to accommodate a mezzanine level within the main temple space.

An ADA lift has been introduced at the southeast corner of the building within the temple space.

Staff has reviewed the additional historical documentation and remains confident that the 1980’s and 1990’s additions have subsumed the original front of the home including the loss of the vast majority of significant architectural details that appear to have been located on the primary façade. Consequently, staff continues to have no objection to the proposed total demolition.

Staff is generally supportive of the proposed design modifications; however, staff recommends that the third level be setback an additional minimum of 12’-0” to break down the mass at the upper portion of the building.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS
The applicant is requesting the following variances:
1. A variance to reduce by 3,000 sq. ft. the minimum required lot area of 7,000 sq. ft. in order to construct a 3-story building on a property with a lot area of 4,000 sq. ft. Variance requested from:
Sec. 142-217. – Area requirements.
The area requirements in the RM-2 residential multifamily, medium intensity district are as follows:
Minimum Lot Area (Square Feet): 7,000
2. A variance to reduce by 10’-0” the minimum required lot width of 50’-0” in order to construct a 3-story building on a property with a lot width of 40’-0”. Variance requested from:
Sec. 142-217. – Area requirements.
The area requirements in the RM-2 residential multifamily, medium intensity district are as follows:
Minimum Lot Width (Feet): 50

The subject property is a 40’-0” wide by 100’-0” deep lot, platted in 1916 with the same dimensions and lot area as today. The subject lots size is 4,000 sq. ft., where the minimum of 7,000 sq. ft. is required and the lot width is 40’-0” where the minimum required is 50’-0”. Without the granting of variances 1 & 2, the construction of the proposed building, or any new structure for that matter, would not be permitted. Staff finds that the original and existing size of the lot size and width, establishes the hardship that justifies the variances requested.

3. A variance to reduce by 14’-3” the minimum required front yard setback of 20’-0” in orderto construct a 3-story building at a setback of 5’-9” from the south side property line.
Variance requested from:


Sec. 142-218. – Setback requirements.
(a) The setback requirements in the RM-2 residential multifamily, medium intensity district are as follows:
Subterranean and pedestal, Front: 20’-0”


4. A variance to reduce by 7’-6” the minimum side interior setback of 7’-6” in order to construct an exterior stair and a portion of the lower level with at a zero (0’-0”) setback and the remainder of the building at a setback of 5’-0” from the east side property line.
Variance requested from:


Sec. 142-218. – Setback requirements.
(a) The setback requirements in the RM-2 residential multifamily, medium intensity district are as follows:
Subterranean and pedestal, Side, Interior: Single lots less than 65 feet: 7’-6”

5. A variance to reduce by 10’-0” the minimum rear yard setback of 10’-0” in order to construct a 3-story building at a zero (0’-0”) setback from the north side property line.
Variance requested from:


Sec. 142-218. – Setback requirements.
(a) The setback requirements in the RM-2 residential multifamily, medium intensity district are as follows:
Subterranean and pedestal, Rear: Non-oceanfront lots: 10% of lot depth (10’-0”)


6. A variance to exceed by 3’-5 ¾” the maximum projection of 1’-5 ¼” (25%) into the proposed 5’-9” front yard in order to construct a stair with a projection of 4’-11” (85.5%) into the proposed front yard.

Variances requested from:
Sec. 142-1132. – Allowable encroachments within required yards for districts than single-family districts.
(o) Projections. Every part of a required yard shall be open to the sky, except as authorized by these land development regulations. The following may project into a required yard for a distance not to exceed 25 percent of the required yard up to a maximum projection of
six feet, unless otherwise noted.
(6)Porches, platforms and terraces up to 30 inches above the adjusted grade elevation for the lot, as defined in chapter 114.

Variances 3 through 6 relate to the proposed setbacks of the structure. Staff would note that within the RM-2 zoning district, the maximum permitted height is 75’-0”, measured from base flood elevation plus freeboard. In this instance, the applicant is proposing a 3-story, 32’-6” tall building, less than half of the maximum permitted height in order to be compatible with the scale of the historic district. Additionally, as the building is proposed to be a synagogue, the height was purposely limited to a maximum of 3-stories so that an elevator would not be required. This is due to the limitation of elevator usage during Shabbat. Staff believes that this specific religious requirement, the existing undersized lot area and width, and the certificate of appropriateness criteria regarding compatibility of scale, create the practical difficulties that warrant the approval of the requested variances.

7. A variance to reduce by 2.91’ NGVD the minimum required yard elevation of 6.56’ NGVD in order to provide a minimum yard elevation of 3.65’ NGVD. Variance requested from:
Sec. 142-216. – Development regulations.
(2) Exterior building and lot standards:
(a.) Minimum yard elevation requirements.
(1.) The minimum elevation of a required yard shall be no less that five feet NAVD (6.56 feet NGVD), with the exception of driveways, walkways, transitions areas, green infrastructure (e.g., vegetated swales, permeable pavement, rain gardens, and rainwater/stormwater capture and infiltration devices), and areas where existing landscaping is to be preserved, which may have a lower elevation.

The above regulation requires that all required yards shall have a minimum yard elevation of 6.56’ NGVD, with exceptions. Staff would note that the majority of the required yards are occupied with walkways which are allowable exceptions, but there are portions of the yards that do not qualify for and exemption and are required to be at the minimum yard elevation. Due to the undersized lot and the approximately 7’-0” change in elevation from the existing sidewalk level (3.65’ NGVD) to the proposed first floor of the building (10.65’ NGVD) there is little room on the site to transition these minimal areas to the minimum yard elevation. As such, staff finds these special conditions
warrant the granting of this variance.

In summary, staff remains supportive of the proposed project and recommends approval as noted below.

RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variances be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position [updated for June 14th, 2022]

MDPL appreciates the refinement of the design and the attempt to connect with the original structure on the site. Unfortunately, we believe the overall design lacks contextuality to and compatibility with the historic district. We believe further study is needed to design a building that properly reflects its time and location.

MDPL Position [from 4-12 HPB]:

MDPL appreciates the proposal and the needs of the congregation. We do not believe the application is complete, because it lacks a historic resources report showing the evolution of the building and its history.

MDPL in its preliminary research found the below photo of the original structure. It appears from comparing the aerials in the staff report that the existing structure, a contributing building in the historic district, may still be intact. With the newly uncovered historic photo of the original structure, we would encourage additional analysis of what could be done with the property. Perhaps an alternative can be developed to meet the needs of the congregation while also bringing back the historic structural to its original front facade.

In the architect’s letter of intent, it is mentioned that renovation of the historic structure would trigger the 50% rule, requiring the demolition of the structure. However, with historic preservation incentives, the 50% rule will not require total demolition of the structure.

We encourage further study of this project to determine if there are alternatives to demolition.

4. HPB22-0502, 301 Ocean Drive

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the replacement of existing cast concrete and solid masonry railings with new aluminum railings. 

more details->301 Ocean Drive

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

The existing 6-story building located at 301 Ocean Drive was constructed in 1967 and is classified as Non-Contributing within the Historic Properties Database. The building is currently undergoing renovations including significant concrete restoration. Staff has been in correspondence with the
project engineer and condominium association with regard to the existing balcony and walkway guardrails. The engineer has expressed concern relative to the weight of the existing solid masonry and cast concrete railing material and its replacement in-kind. As such, the condominium association is requesting approval for a new aluminum guardrail system throughout all sides of the building.

Update
On April 12, 2022, the Board reviewed and continued the subject application in order to give the applicant additional time to address concerns expressed by the Board. Since the April meeting, the applicant has submitted revised plans in response to the Board’s concerns.


The currently proposed railing design more closely resembles the existing railing configuration. More specifically, the existing solid masonry portions of the guardrails are proposed to be replaced with aluminum guardrails that incorporate perforated aluminum panels. Additionally, the existing cast concrete guardrails and posts are proposed to be replaced with custom aluminum railings closely resembling the original cast concrete design. Further, the railings are currently proposed to have a depth of 3-½”, recalling the depth of the original cast concrete elements. Staff would note that a standard aluminum picket has a depth of approximately ½”.

Staff believes that the applicant has successfully addressed the concerns expressed by the Board. Staff would note however, that there are minor inconsistencies between the more accurate line drawn elevations and the 3-dimensional renderings. Staff is confident that any inconsistencies
can be addressed administratively. In summary, staff believes that the currently proposed railing design is more consistent with the original configuration and achieves a greater level of compatibility with the surrounding historic district. As such, staff recommends approval as noted
below.

RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the application be approved subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order.

MDPL Position [updated for June 14th, 2022]

MDPL is appreciative and supports the updated design for the railings. We thank the applicant for their efforts to match the original design.

MDPL Position [from 4-12 HPB]:

We appreciate the proposal to update the railings. The new railings proposed are not unattractive, however we believe that with further study the railings can better match the original design.

MODIFICATIONS TO PREVIOUSLY APPROVED BOARD ORDER

5. HPB22-0504 a.k.a. HPB20-0444, 1501 Collins Avenue

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting modifications to a previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness for the partial demolition, renovation and restoration of the existing building, including the reconstruction of original interior floor plates and a variance to reduce the required side facing a street setback. Specifically, the applicant is requesting exterior design modifications and modifications to the original public lobby. 

more details->1501 Collins Avenue

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

The Bancroft Hotel, located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Collins Avenue and 15th Street, was constructed in 1938 and designed by architect Albert Anis in the Streamline Moderne style of architecture. On August 2, 1994, the Joint Historic Preservation Board/Design Review Board reviewed and approved a Certificate of Appropriateness and Design Review approval for
the partial demolition and renovation of the existing Bancroft Hotel and the construction of the existing courtyard retail plaza (Ocean Steps) and 16-story multifamily residential building (1500 Ocean).

On May 11, 2021, the Historic Preservation Board approved a Certificate of Appropriateness (HPB20-0444) for the renovation of the Bancroft Hotel and Ocean Steps portions of the site including the conversion of the majority of these spaces into a new Class A office use. The applicant is currently requesting additional modifications as part of the renovation of these two portions of the site.

Ground level modifications
The original public lobby of the Bancroft Hotel remains substantially intact including an intricate patterned terrazzo floor featuring a central compass rose medallion. The terrazzo floor also includes a decorative pattern at the perimeter of the center of the lobby that corresponds to a lighting cove in the ceiling. The applicant is proposing to introduce a bar counter and back bar shelving structure within the central area of the original lobby. The bar counter is proposed to be
faced in walnut with marble counter tops. The back bar includes symmetrical shelving that extends the to lobby ceiling within the center portion and is proposed to be faced in the same walnut material with glass shelving.

Staff’s first preference would be to relocate the bar area out of the central potion of the lobby, perhaps to the private dining room area at the southwest corner of the lobby. Staff believes that the placement of the bar structures within the central portion of the lobby has an adverse impact on the character of the original lobby design and obscures significant portions of the original patterned terrazzo flooring. If the Board is supportive of the proposed location, at a minimum staff recommends that the height of the back bar shelving be reduced so that it is separated from the lobby ceiling by a minimum of 3’-0”. Further, staff recommends that the view of the compass rose terrazzo floor pattern be unobstructed with the exception of traditional movable tables and chairs.

On the exterior of the building, the applicant is proposing to introduce peach colored limestone cladding at the northwest corner of the ground level. Staff has no objection to this modification as it is limited to the 1994 addition and will help to break down the scale of the existing octagonal structure.

Further, the applicant is proposing to introduce a canopy structure at the southwest corner of the porch. The applicant has provided extremely limited information regarding this structure with no dimensions. Staff does have concerns relative to this proposed structure including the obscuring of the relief panel along the west facing wall along Collins Avenue. Consequently, staff cannot recommend approval of the proposed canopy at this time.

Finally, the applicant is proposing to introduce an approximately 10’-0” hedge along a significant portion of the Bancroft site. Staff has serious concerns relative to the adverse impact on the pedestrian experience and safety as well a significant obscuration of significant original ground level architectural features. Further, staff would note that the Board included the following as a condition as part of the May 11, 2021 approval:

All hedge and ground cover plantings within the street facing yards shall not exceed 42” in height at maturity

As such, staff recommends that the condition be left in place and that any hedge material along Collins Avenue and adjacent to the Bancroft porch along 15th Street be limited to a species that will not exceed 42” in height at maturity.

Third level exterior modifications
The applicant is proposing several modifications to the western roof area of the Ocean Steps portion of the project and the adjacent western wall of the Bancroft portion of the building. First, the applicant is proposing to introduce a new exterior egress stair from the roof level of the Bancroft portion of the building to the roof level of the Ocean Steps portion of the building. Additionally, the applicant is proposing to modify a number of openings along the west wall of the
Bancroft portion of the building. Staff has no objection to the proposed modifications and would note that they are primarily located within the 1994 portion of the building and will be minimally, if at all visible from 15th Street and Ocean Drive.

Bancroft roof level modifications
At the roof level, the applicant is proposing to extend the height of portions of the parapet wall by approximately 8” and introduce a new cable rail on top in order to provide a 42” guardrail as part of the previously approved raised roof deck. Additionally, a series of vertical openings are proposed to be introduced within the rooftop structure located at the southeast corner of the roof. Finally, the applicant is proposing to increase the height of the octagonal tower located at the northwest corner of the site by 3’-0” to accommodate level changes within this structure and the proposed pool deck. Staff has no objection to these relatively minor modifications which do not adversely impact any significant architectural features of the Contributing building.

RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a modification to the previously approved Certificate of Appropriateness and variances be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties
criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position:

MDPL supports the staff recommendations. In particular, we support their suggestion that the lobby bar be moveable so that the terrazzo emblem will not be permanently covered.

NEW APPLICATIONS

6. HPB22-0508, 185 South Shore Drive

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the construction of a multi-family residential structure on a vacant site, including variances from the minimum required setbacks and one or more waivers.

more details->185 South Shore Drive

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

The applicant, the Housing Authority of the City of Miami Beach, is proposing to construct a 4-story, 49-unit, multifamily residential building for elderly affordable workforce housing on three vacant parcels on the north side of South Shore Drive backing up to the Normandy Shores Golf Course. The new structure includes a lobby, 5 residential units and 24 parking spaces at the ground level, a courtyard, business center and 17 residential units on the second level and 27
residential units distributed amongst levels three and four.

Staff is highly supportive of the application and would commend the applicant for proposing to construct a high-quality structure on the existing vacant lots. Over time, this undeveloped site has had an increasing negative impact on the residential context and character of South Shore Drive, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. The highly developed design successfully relates to
and complements the predominately Post-War Modern architecture of the Normandy Isles Local Historic District. Further, the distribution of architectural forms has resulted in a new building that is compatible with the neighboring buildings and the surrounding historic district. In this regard, the building has been designed with 2 and 3-story volumes fronting South Shore Drive and the 4-
story portion has been setback an additional approximately 20’-0” from the primary façade. This plan responds well to the historic development pattern of the neighborhood that consists mostly of independently developed, approximately fifty-foot-wide lots.

Additionally, staff would note that a companion application (HPB22-0509) for a new 4-story elderly affordable workforce housing on two vacant parcels on the south side of South Shore Drive backing up to the Normandy Waterway is also scheduled to be considered by the Board. While the design of these two buildings is similar, staff would note that the unique architectural identity
of the Normandy Isles Historic District is a result of repetitive building typologies.

Finally, the proposed project is below the maximum permitted height of 45’-0” within North Beach National Register Conservation District Overlay. However, within the first 25’-0” of building depth, the overlay district limits the height to 32’-0”. Notwithstanding the above, the Board may allow up to 45’-0” in height within the first 20’-0” of building depth. The applicant is proposing to construct
the southernmost ends of the east and west wings of the building at the 4th level (the portions above 32’-0” in height) within the first 20’-0” of building depth. Staff believes that as currently designed, the building is consistent with the Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and the overlay district’s intent to ensure that the scale and massing of new development is consistent with the established context of the existing residential neighborhoods. As such, staff has no objection to the request.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS
The applicant is requesting the following variance:
1. A variance to reduce by 7’-5” the minimum required front setback within the first 20’-0” of building depth in order construct a portion of the 4th level that exceeds 32’-0” in height within the first 12’-5” of building depth. Variance requested from:


Sec. 142-870.15. – Development regulations and area requirements.

(c) The height requirements for RM-1 properties within the North Beach National Register Overlay district are as follows:
(1) The maximum building height for new construction shall be 32 feet for the first 25 feet of building depth, as measured from the minimum required front setback and a maximum of 45 feet for the remainder of the building depth. The design review or historic preservation board, as applicable, may allow for up to the first 32 feet in height to be located within the first 20 feet of building depth, as measured from the minimum required front setba
ck.

As outlined in the preceding analysis section, the applicant is requesting that the Board approve the southernmost ends of the east and west wings of the building at the 4th level (the portions above 32’-0” in height) to be located within the first 20’-0” of building depth. This request can be approved by the Board without a variance request.

Additionally, the applicant is requesting a variance for the location of a trash chute room and maintenance closet at the 4 th level (above 35’-0” in height) within the first 12’-7” of building depth. The area of the subject variance is extremely limited and will allow for efficient operation of the proposed 49-unit affordable elderly housing project. Staff finds that compliance with the stringent requirements of the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) including the minimum required number of units for this elderly affordable housing project create special circumstances that justify the variance requested. This unique and important program along with the additional requirements of the overlay result in a variance request that is the minimum required in order to achieve compliance with all governmental regulations. Further, the proposed project will be in harmony with the general intent and purpose of district and the project will be beneficial to the public welfare of the City.

In summary, staff is highly supportive of the creation of additional elderly affordable workforce housing within the City and recommends approval as noted below.

RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variance be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position:

MDPL supports the project with staff recommendations.

7. HPB22-0509, 280 South Shore Drive

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the construction of a multi-family residential structure on a vacant site, including variances from the minimum required setbacks and one or more waivers.

more details->280 South Shore Drive

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

The applicant, the Housing Authority of the City of Miami Beach, is proposing to construct a 4-story, 69-unit, multifamily residential building for elderly affordable workforce housing on two vacant parcels on the south side of South Shore Drive backing up to the Normandy Waterway. The new structure includes a lobby, community room, business center and 31 parking spaces at the ground level, an open courtyard and 26 residential units at the second level, 23 residential units and a communal roof reck at the third level and 20 residential units and an additional communal deck at the fourth level.

Staff is highly supportive of the application and would commend the applicant for proposing to construct a high-quality structure on the existing vacant lots. Over time, this undeveloped site has had an increasing negative impact on the residential context and character of South Shore Drive, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. The highly developed design successfully relates to and complements the predominately Post-War Modern architecture of the Normandy Isles Local Historic District. Further, the distribution of architectural forms has resulted in a new building that is compatible with the neighboring buildings and the surrounding historic district. In this regard, the building has been designed with 2 and 3-story volumes fronting South Shore Drive and the 4-story portion has been setback an additional approximately 20’-0” from the primary façade. This plan responds well to the historic development pattern of the neighborhood that consists mostly of independently developed, approximately fifty-foot-wide lots.

Additionally, staff would note that a companion application (HPB22-0508) for a new 4-story elderly affordable workforce housing project on three vacant parcels on the north side of South Shore Drive fronting the Normandy Shores Golf Course is also scheduled to be considered by the Board. While the design of these two buildings are similar, staff would note that the unique architectural identity of the Normandy Isles Historic District is a result of repetitive building typologies.

Finally, the proposed project is below the maximum permitted height of 45’-0” within North Beach National Register Conservation District Overlay. However, within the first 25’-0” of building depth, the overlay district limits the height to 32’-0”. Notwithstanding the above, the Board may allow up to 45’-0” in height within the first 20’-0” of building depth. The applicant is proposing to construct the northernmost ends of the east and west wings of the building at the 4 th level (the portions above 32’-0” in height) within the first 20’-0” of building depth. Staff believes that as currently designed, the building is consistent with the Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and the overlay district’s intent to ensure that the scale and massing of new development is consistent with the established context of the existing residential neighborhoods. As such, staff has no objection to the request.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS
The applicant is requesting the following variances:

1. A variance to reduce by 3’-0” the minimum required front setback of 25’-0” in order to construction portions of the second and third levels at a setback of 22’-0” from the north side property line. Variance requested from:
Sec. 142-870.15. – Development regulations and area requirements.
(e) The setback requirements for all buildings located in the RM-1 district within the North Beach National Register Overlay district are as follows:
Normandy Isle and Normandy Shores: Waterfront: 25 feet


2. A variance to reduce by up to 9’-2 ½” the minimum required setback within the first 20’-0” of building depth in order construct portions of the fourth level that exceeds 32’-0” in height within the first 10’-9 ½” of building depth. Variance requested from:


Sec. 142-870.15. – Development regulations and area requirements.
(c) The height requirements for RM-1 properties within the North Beach National Register Overlay district are as follows:
(1) The maximum building height for new construction shall be 32 feet for the first 25 feet of building depth, as measured from the minimum required front setback and a maximum of 45 feet for the remainder of the building depth. The design review or historic preservation board, as applicable, may allow for up to the first 32 feet in height to be located within the first 20 feet of building depth, as measured from the minimum required front setback.

Variance No. 1 is related to the construction of the northernmost portion of the second level of the west wing and the northernmost portion of the second and third levels of the east wing, 3’-0” into the required 25’-0” front setback. Staff would note that within the North Beach National Register Overlay district the front setback is generally 20’-0”; however, waterfront properties are required to have a 25’-0” front setback. Staff has examined building permit historic for the adjacent properties and has determined that the buildings to either side have an existing approximately 15’-0” front setback.

Variance No. 2 is related to the construction of portions of the fourth level within the required front setback. As outlined in the preceding analysis section, the applicant is requesting that the Board approve the northernmost ends of the east and west wings of the building at the 4th level (the portions above 32’-0” in height) to be located within the first 20’-0” of building depth. This request can be approved by the Board without a variance request. Additionally, the applicant is requesting a variance for the location of a trash chute room and maintenance closet at the eastern wing of the fourth level and a portion of a residential unit at the western wing of the fourth level (above 35’-0” in height) within the first 10’-9 ½” of building depth.

Staff would note that the areas of the subject variances are limited and will allow for efficient operation of the proposed 69-unit affordable elderly housing project. Staff finds that the special circumstances exist in which the need to facilitate the servicing of the elderly residents creates the practical difficulties that justify the variance requested. Additionally, staff finds that compliance with the stringent requirements of the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) including the minimum required number of units for this elderly affordable housing project create special circumstances that justify the variance requested. This unique and important program along with the additional requirements of the overlay result in a variance request that is the minimum required in order to achieve compliance with all governmental regulations. Further, the proposed project will be in harmony with the general intent and purpose of district and the project will be beneficial to the public welfare of the City.

In summary, staff is highly supportive of the creation of additional elderly affordable workforce housing within the City and recommends approval as noted below.


RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variance be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position:

MDPL supports the project with staff recommendations.

8. HPB22-0511, 239 1st Street

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a variance to exceed the maximum permitted required yard projection in order to construct a stair landing within the required rear yard.

more details->239 1st Street

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The subject structure, designed by B. Kingston Hall, was constructed in 1936 as a 1-story mixed- use building with 3 retail stores and 7 apartment units. In 1940, a second story was constructed adding an additional 9 apartment units. The commercial portion of the building is located at the southern end at the ground level and originally consisted of one large store and two smaller retail bays. In 2012, the retail spaces were combined into one restaurant. Additionally, in 2014, the Board approved modifications to the west and south façades of the building as part of an expansion of the restaurant.

The applicant is currently in the process of renovating the existing apartment units including the enlargement of the stairs in order to comply with current life safety regulations. As a result, the applicant is requesting approval for the following variance:

A variance to exceed by 2’-5” the maximum projection of 1’-3” (25%) into the existing 5’- 0” rear setback in order to construct a stair landing at the second level with a projection of 3’-8” (73.3%) into the existing rear yard. Variance requested from:

Sec. 142-1132. – Allowable encroachments within required yards for districts other than single-family districts.
(o) Projections. Every part of a required yard shall be open to the sky, except as authorized by these land development regulations. The following may project into a required yard for a distance not to exceed 25 percent of the required yard up to a maximum projection of six feet, unless otherwise noted.

(6) Porches, platforms and terraces up to 30 inches above the adjusted grade elevation of the lot, as defined in chapter 114.

The existing north stairwell is proposed to be enlarged to comply with currently life safety regulations including an increase in the length and width of the stairwell structure. A new 3’-8” stair landing is proposed to be introduced on the exterior of the north (rear) façade of the building. The code permits a projection of a maximum of 25% into the setback. In this case, the existing rear setback of the building is 5’-0” allowing for a maximum projection of 1’-3” into the setback.

The location of the stair landing on the exterior of the building will limit the impacts to the original apartment unit layouts. Further increasing the area of the stairwell within the building may lead to substantial changes to the existing unit layouts and result in conflicts with existing window openings requiring modifications to the original design. As such, staff finds that the retention of the Contributing building including original window openings and unit layouts creates the practical difficulties that justify the variance requested.

RECOMMENDATION
In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the application for a variance be approved, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order.

MDPL Position:

MDPL does not have a position on this application.

9. HPB22-0513, 251 Washington Avenue

Current site

Proposed Structures

View Item Details:

An application has been filed requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness for the construction of new educational facility on a vacant site and variances from the minimum required interior side yard setbacks for a school and loading space requirements.

more details->251 Washington Avenue

City of Miami Beach Staff Report Recommendation (excerpt below, click here to read the full report):

Staff Analysis:

The subject site is located mid-block on Washington Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets. The applicant is proposing the construction of a 4-story private school for elementary and middle school aged children. The proposed school will contain 6 classrooms, 4 multi-purpose rooms, a cafeteria, several outdoor spaces including a recreational area and a rooftop garden, and a partially below grade parking garage with 18 parking spaces.


Staff would commend the applicant for proposing to construct a high-quality structure on the vacant lots. Over time, the vacant property has had an increasing adverse impact on the urban context of Washington Avenue as well as the surrounding historic district.


Staff is supportive of the overall contemporary design language for the school; however, staff has some concern regarding the mass and scale of the structure. Staff would note that the RPS-3 zoning district permits a maximum height of 50’-0”. Additionally, the City Code permits height exceptions, not to exceed 25’-0” above the 50’-0” maximum height. The applicant is proposing to construct several mechanical rooms, restrooms and stair and elevator bulkheads at a height of 20’-0” above the main roof line. This, in combination with the location of the primary stair structure along the front setback line and rooftop the trellis structure that projects to the front setback line, results in a building that appears to be 70’-0” tall. Staff believes that the proposed height of the structures above the main roof line is excessive and not compatible with the scale and context of the surrounding historic district. Consequently, staff recommends that all height exceptions not exceed 10’-0”, except for the elevator override structures. Additionally, staff recommends that the rooftop trellis be setback in line with the equipment room located at the northwest corner of the roof. For comparison, staff has provided the currently proposed rendering and an approximation of staff’s recommendations below.

Finally, it is important to note that the proposed project is scheduled to be reviewed by the Planning Board on June 21, 2022, with regard to important issues related to the operations of the project, including parking, traffic, deliveries, sanitation and security.

In summary, staff is highly supportive of the proposed project and believes that with incorporation of the modifications outlined above the project will be a more compatible with the adjacent contributing buildings and surrounding historic district.

VARIANCE ANALYSIS

The applicant is requesting the following variances:

  1. A variance to exceed by 46’-2” the minimum required side interior setback for a school of 50’-0” in order construct the school building at a setback of 7’-6” from the north side property line and stairs at the ground level at a setback of 3’-10” from the north side property line.
  2. A variance to exceed by 42’-6” the minimum required side interior setback for a school of 50’-0” in order construct the school building at a setback of 7’-6” from the south side property line. Variances requested from: Sec. 142-1131. – Generally.
    (d) Minimum side yards, public and semi-public buildings. The minimum depth of interior side yards for schools, libraries, religious institutions, and other public buildings and private structures which are publicly used for meetings in residential districts shall be 50 feet, except where a side yard is adjacent to a business district, a public street, bay, erosion control line or golf course, and except for properties that have received conditional use approval as a religious institution located in the 40th Street Overlay, in which cases the depth of that yard shall be as required for the district in which the building is located. In all other cases, the side yard facing a street shall be the same as that which is required for the district in which the lot is located.

In general, the required side setbacks for a main use building within the RPS-3 zoning district (with a lot width of more than 50’-0”) is 7’-6” on both sides. However, for schools and institutions, the City Code requires side setbacks of 50’-0”. In this case, the lot width of the property is 100’- 0” and, if the required 50’-0” setback on both sides is applied, the construction of any structure on the site for use as a school would not be possible, unless a variance is approved. Based on the width of the lot and the proposed use as a school, staff finds that there are practical difficulties that justify the requested variances.

3. A variance to eliminate the requirement to provide two off-street loading spaces for a new school. Variance requested from:

Sec. 130-101. – Space requirements and location.

When any new building or structure is erected, or an existing building is modified resulting in an increase in FAR, accessory off-street loading spaces shall be provided for the new building, new structure, or increase in floor area in accordance with the following schedule: (2) For each office building, hospital or similar institutions, places of assembly, or similar use, which has an aggregate floor area in square feet of:

b. Over 10,000 but not over 100,000: Two spaces.

The proposed project requires two loading spaces be provided on site. The applicant is requesting a variance to eliminate the on-site loading space requirement and is proposing loading activity to take place in the alley and nearby commercial on-street loading spaces. Staff would note that the site is currently vacant and believes that minor modifications to either the parking level or the rear yard could be made to allow for the introduction of the required loading spaces on site. As such, staff does not believe that the requested variance satisfies the practical difficulties or hardship criteria and recommends denial.

RECOMMENDATION

In view of the foregoing analysis, staff recommends the request for a Certificate of Appropriateness and variances Nos. 1 & 2 be approved and variance No. 3 be denied, subject to the conditions enumerated in the attached draft Order, which address the inconsistencies with the aforementioned Certificate of Appropriateness criteria and Hardship and Practical Difficulties criteria, as applicable.

MDPL Position:

MDPL appreciates the thoughtfulness of the design proposal for a new school in the vibrant South of Fifth neighborhood. We understand the applicant’s desire to have a new striking landmark civic structure in the historic neighborhood. Due to this, we support the variance from the 50ʹ offset requirement, which will allow a school to be built on this site in spite of the current zoning effectively prohibiting such a land use due to the variance requirement.

While generally support of the project, we have concerns about the perceived height of the top floor. We appreciate staff’s recommendation to set back the shade structure on the top level as well as to reduce the allowed height exception. However, we believe a hybrid approach may work best: retain the trellis footprint as proposed but lower the height in line with staff’s recommended 10ʹ. This would retain the design language while making the overall massing more compatible with the historic district.

the precieved hgeight

DISCUSSION ITEMS

10. Collins Avenue MXE Height Amendments – Ordinance

View Item Details:

Description not available.

MDPL Position:

MDPL maintains opposition to height increases in the historic district when there is not an adopted master plan. We look forward to future master planning that will ensure that all community stakeholder inputs are considered.

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